11 Things I Have to Tell Myself About Theatre…and Nachos


A castmate and I were musing about our respective moves to Chicago and how our 21 year old selves would view our current lives.  While I sort of wrote this blog post to my 21 year old self, I also know that I couldn’t have learned these things by reading a list.  I really had to learn these lessons authentically.  Still they are things I have to reiterate to myself and it’s nice to see them all lined up and spell- checked and in numerical order with a movie clip at the end. (Also note to 21 year old self, you are currently working on a project you LOVE.)

Sidebar: I hope my 41-year-old self writes something to my current self like, “Use that windfall of 14 million dollars to buy a villa NOT a yacht.  THAT was a hard-learned lesson, giggle giggle. Care for a bellini?  Let me just summon my faithful houseman Agador Spartacus.”

11 Things about Doing Theatre in Chicago

1.  Confidence means more when you aren’t onstage.  Talent, training, technique and rehearsal are the keys to a good performance or audition.  Confidence is deeper.  You have to know…you have to KNOW that the path you are on is your path and the one that is right for you.  Comparison to other actors is death.  It kills your spirit.  It kills your creativity.  And it kills your spark.  Judy is right, you have to “be yourself.  Everyone else is taken.”

2.  Have priorities.  Change them if you need to. And make sure they are actually yours, not someone else’s.  You can be a professional actor and not necessarily want to star in a tv series.  It’s your career.  If you want to do Cher covers while rollerskating, then the world will be a better place for it.  I am so serious.  The world needs HAPPY rollerskating Cher coverers not UNHAPPY commercial actors who wish they were rollerskating and covering “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”  In the same vein, if that sounds like it sucks?  Dude.  Don’t do it then.  Only an performer thinks, “Ugh that project sounds horrible.  I’ll do it.”  Why?  WHY?

3.  As in the beginning…so in the middle…so in the end.  If that company sucked to audition for….if they were running an hour behind….if they were rude or dismissive…I assure you the rehearsal process will be the same way.  On the other hand, if the audition process was smooth, the people friendly, and the paperwork informative, that’s a huge high sign that they have it together.

4.  Make sure you love every single audition piece you use.  If you are bored by something, the people behind the table will be too.

5.  If you are offered a project and you have an inexplicable sinking feeling or  panic….that’s your intuition telling you to say no. (Not to be confused with feelings of healthy fear that indicate you are challenging yourself.)

6.  It’s okay to say no.  If you say no upfront to a project in a polite way, you won’t burn a bridge ( If you bail halfway through with a shady excuse, that’s a different story).  The project that feels “not right” for you might be a dream job for someone else who will love it.  If you know you can’t throw yourself into the project wholly, what’s the point?

7.  It’s totally okay to take a break for as long as you want to.

8.  When you take a break, it can take a long time to get back into the swing of things.

7.  If a role scares you, it’s probably the right role and you will benefit from playing it.

8.  If you have to force something from the get go, it’s not worth it. (Not to be confused with healthy competition)

9.  You have to love doing this for your own sanity.  I call it the Nachos Philosophy.  Sure every once in a while, I get tired of nachos.  Or am occasionally disappointed with a plate of nachos (what is with the cheese and pickled jalapenos only bullshit?).  Might you occasionally resent this inexplicable need for nachos and that it occasionally causes you to sacrifice other amazing foods in your quest for more nachos? Of course.  But can I imagine my life without nachos?  No I cannot, Madame.   You’ve got to love it like nachos.

10.  You can stop loving it and start loving it again.

11.  This: 

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Fall!


I am a hustler.  Like the aptly named Ginger in Casino, I want my end.   So when the Christmas season takes a full 21 days off my beloved Autumn, I look out for me.  No it isn’t really Fall yet, but I snagged 16 days from Summer.  Post-Labor day is Betsy Autumn.  I am sipping a pumpkin spice latte as I write this.  My year goes something like this: Autumn is Post Labor Day through November 30.  Christmas is December 1 through December 29 or 30.  Winter is December 31 through April 1.  Spring is April 1 through May 31.  Summer is June 1 through Labor Day.  I used to try to adhere to the actual seasons.  But tell Chicago it’s spring on March 21.  When I lived in Oxford, Ohio perched so very close to the American South, it was quite easy to respect the seasons and their dates.  I now reside near a giant inland sea that makes it’s own weather decisions.   So I had to start interpreting them for myself.  If Chicago had it’s way the seasons would look something like this: October 10 through  June 25 = Winter.  June 26-30 = Spring.  July through September = Summer.  October 1-10 = Fall.  I cannot abide this.

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  We live in America.  There are five seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Christmas.  I begrudge none of them, save for their respective pollen counts and shoveling requirements.  Each have their own delights.  Still root vegetables, squashes, spices, sweaters, beautiful leaves, crispy air, cider and myriad other seasonal delights are more than a few of my favorite things.

I let fall take right over in every area of my life.  I change my wardrobe, my cooking, my reading, my movies, and even the way I approach my career.  In lieu of Back to School, since I no longer attend one, I sort of make my own.  I buckle down to the basics (new monologues, songs).  I try to pick up a class.  It gives me a back to school feeling without actually pursuing another degree.

Here are the ways in which I celebrate Fall:

Household:

  • I switch the bathroom and kitchen handsoaps to a fall scent.  This year, I picked up the Bath and Body works selections.  Last year, I grabbed a pretty one from Marshalls called “Autumn.”
  • I grab the seasonal shower gels from either Ulta, Bath and Body or something similar.
  • I pick up fall scented candles and pull out the fall decorations.  Usually I make a trip to Jo-Anns for more puttering.
  • I put away my summer aprons, and hang up my autumn ones.
  • I do a big seasonal scrub to clean up the sand and pollen of summer and make way for the coziness of the season.
  • I make lots of teas, chais, hot ciders, toddies, and autumn-themed cocktails.
  • I start out the season with a big batch of Three Sisters Soup and usually close it with my Fall Stew and/or some cassoulet.
  • I pick up the October/November issues of Cooking Light, and sometimes Martha Stewart.
  • I change the table linens to an autumn theme.
  • I put autumny throw pillows on the couch.

Fashion

Cue Nancy Sinatra.

  • See previous posts.  I put away my summer wardrobe and pull out the fall/winter wardrobe.
  • I search through the September issues of fashion magazines and make a big shopping list for trends and classics.
  • I wean myself off of flipflops.  But first I do a deeper colored pedicure.
  • I get a haircut, and often deepen the color a bit.

Crafts

  • Autumn is knitting season.  I usually pick out a pattern to trudge through.
  • I like to sew this time of year.  This year I have three aprons to make for various people.

My Fall Face. Not attractive. But so enthusiastic.

Activities

  • Having grown up in the country, picking apples just sounds like (and is) work to me.  Instead, I go to the library and pick up a bunch of cozy and spooky books.
  • I like to stock up my pantry for those cold rainy nights.
  • I try to go to Ohio because the leaves are so beautiful.
  • I stop by Starbucks for a pumpkin latte.
  • Usually I make my yearly pilgrimage to IKEA.  They have great candles and it’s this time of year I like to do a lot of home improvement.
  • While I am not a fan of picking produce for “fun,” I do like to grab a pumpkin or two.
  • I like to visit places in the area that are rumored to be haunted.
  • Pumpkin ales and spicy brews are so much fun this time of year.
  • I like to visit my favorite speak easy, The Violet Hour, for their seasonal selections.
  • Shopping for new clothes, and maybe even a school supply or two for old time’s sake.
  • I have a list of movies I watch every year.
  • Halloween planning!
  • I love a fall get together with warm appetizers and autumnal cocktails, and mulled cider.

I’m not big on missing my junior high and high school years.  And I CERTAINLY don’t miss church youth group.  But with youth group, you had a guaranteed hay ride every year.  Living in the third biggest metropolis in the United States, hayrides are few and far between.  Sure I live in the Prairie State, but I wouldn’t even know where to start.  At home, you have to narrow down the damn options.  I also wish someone would put Disney’s Halloween Treat on DVD so I didn’t have to pathetically huddle in front of  You Tube to watch it in 10 minute segments.  I absolutely still dress up for Halloween should the right party come along, but I miss that in-school-and-in-costume feeling.  I don’t work in a workplace that encourages any sort of holiday festivity.  And I’ve never been a dress up for an office job kind of person.  You see, my night job requires I dress in costume.  It just feels creepy in an office.  No, that elementary school costume joy is long past.  Something else I miss with a vengeance is the annual field trip to The Garden Patch.  The Garden Patch was a gardening center on State Route 66 in between Defiance and Archbold, Ohio.  Every year, my class would hop the school busses for a field trip.  We would pick pumpkins, go on hay rides, have apple cider and donuts, walk amidst gorgeous chrysanthemums and play in the leaves.  It was grand.  There was also the Apple Butter Festival at Sauder’s Village in Archbold.  You could watch them press cider, make apple butter, pet the Clydesdale horses, ride the miniature train, buy candy at the General Store and generally have a grand old time.  Nobody is stopping me from going to the Festival, per se, it’s just that “kid” feeling is a bit lost.  Still, that “kid” did not enjoy trips to places like Jo-Anns and Homegoods.  Now, she delights in it.  I try not to dwell on the past.  Especially since I turned 21.  Heh.  No childhood joy can beat the ability to legally buy liquor.

Pretty sure this is how I look from September to November.

So off I go into Autumn sprinkling cinnamon-scented fairy dust in my wake!

 

Salute Your Shorts


Spaz from Meatballs

I recently read a blog post that made me smile with delight:  6 Things I Learned From Sleepaway Camp.  My days at camp were some of the most uproariously wonderful times of my youth.

In retrospect, I’m not quite sure why I loved camp so much.  On paper it makes very little sense.   If given a choice between playing outside or in, in always won.  Unfortunately for me, my Mom rarely gave that choice.  I was told to go “blow the stink off” which is a Midwesterner’s charming way of saying “go play outside and quit bothering me.”  I had asthma.  I hated and was appropriately terrible at sports.  I only liked swimming if the water wasn’t too cold, and when you go to camp in northern Michigan, the water is ALWAYS too cold.   I was allergic to grass, pollen, trees, and ragweed.  The only things I really had going for me was my love of boys and my ability to tan.

Turns out, that’s all I needed.  That and the fact that I come from a long line of Camp People.  My Mother and Father actually look like this:

70% chance my Dad is wearing this right now

They were even Camp Counselors together and every picture looks like something from Wet Hot American Summer.  They even had a Camp Toilet Paper Monster named “The Viper.”  Camp People are a mockumentary waiting to happen.

I loved camp with an intensity only matched by my early adolescent lust for the male counselors.  Not that long ago, I looked at a few pics of said counselors wondering if in fact they were actually “hot.”  Answer:  they were.  And I married a guy that looks like a combo of two of them.  I haven’t tested Will’s abilities in Burp Tennis, but we’ve only been married five years in June.  We have to save SOMETHING for retirement.

I still subscribe to the American Camp Association Job Update and occasionally consider chucking it all and heading off into the North Woods to be Mr. and Mrs. Charming Camp Director.  Will would do it in a hot second.  I am held back by the availability of MAC makeup and schmancy cocktail bars.  I also don’t really like children.

I think what appealed to me the most about camp was the immediate and intense drama that occurs when 13 years olds live in close and filthy proximity.  The only thing I’ve found to match it is Non-Equity theatre backstages and lo and behold I’m an actor.  The only thing missing is a 19 year old boy with a guitar.  I long to harmonize the works of Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls with him, and still being innocent enough NOT to wonder why he knows those songs in the first place.   Unless, of course, he went to Goshen College in Indiana, which pretty much explains everything. (If you actually understand my Goshen college reference I either 1. Already know you. or 2.  Probably should.  And no, I didn’t go there.)

I don’t have anything left over from Arts and Crafts.  Mainly because, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think we did anything in there but marvel at the Art girl’s cool name, I believe it was Yaneken,  and her armpit hair.   I was ambivalent about Waterfront.  Waterfront always had the hottest counselors, but if I had my period, it was a total bust.  So that week of the summer was ALWAYS hit or miss in those respects.  I LOVED music and so did all my friends.  Honestly, the top three things for me at camp were 1. Hanging out with friends, 2. staring at boy counselors, and 3. harmonizing.  We were children of Folk Music-listening ex-hippy Baby Boomer parents.  Harmonizing songs was just what we did.  “You Are My Sunshine” was our biggest hit.

I remember that “getting dressed up” involved a shower, jean shorts that were not cutoffs, and a Hard Rock tshirt, with actual underwear on, not a swimsuit.  And shoes.  We must have looked like a bunch of gangly, pimply hillbillies most of the time.  I remember once during the week, we would walk to Lake Michigan in a big long line, roadside, kind of like when all the campers follow Sharon and Susan to the Isolation Cabin in the Parent Trap.  I remember the cook in the Mess Hall was humming “Something in the Way” by Nirvana and I thought he was the coolest most aloof and mysterious man I had ever met.

The Gang from Salute Your Shorts

On Sunday afternoon, when we finally arrived after a sweltering many hour trip from the church parking lot in Archbold, Ohio, everything felt so new and fresh.  By the time Monday lunch rolled around, it was old hat, everything was routine and I was having the absolute time of my life.

The only thing I never liked about camp and still to this day don’t quite understand is why you have to get up so damn early.  Summer Camp seems to have some sort of vague connection to the military in that you get up to Revelle, orders are shouted at you, and you occasionally have to pass “inspections.”  One year, knowing our Camp Director Gail spent her off season working at the Gap in Toledo, we spread every Gap item we owned onto our beds as some sort of tribute to her when she arrived for inspection.  Having now worked several horrid Joe jobs, I can imagine the gutteral sigh she must have uttered.  She did have a really cute navy blue polka dot bikini that I loved and have looked for for years.  I assume it was Gap.

I would usually get a couple letters from my Mom during the week, sometimes my Aunt Hope (who would draw very cute animals roasting marshmallows or something), and my Grandma.  In that I would usually get my first letter from my Mother on Monday, I’m surprised it didn’t say, “Dear Betsy, You are still at home.  I am watching you fumbling around with the washing machine.  Why didn’t you unload the dishwasher? Wash your hands.  Dinner is ready.”  Instead they usually said wonderful Mom things like, “We miss you so much.  The cats are lonely.  I cleaned your room and found a dead mouse.  Finster [cat] must have left it for you.  Maybe weeks ago.  Dad says we can order pizza when you get home.  Love, Mom”  I would write one very pathetic and dirt-covered letter to my Grandma Kohart which I would forget to mail.  My Mom would then mail it the following week.  My Grandma would keep it forever, and then 15 years later it would be returned to me when my Mom was going through my Grandmother’s things, which is weird and surreal.  If I had known I would ultimately be writing that letter to myself, I think I would have said, “Dear Future Betsy,  Will I marry Joel the hot counselor?  I really hope so.  From what I am reading in Kari’s YM, this is what I am led to believe.  Will I ever have long hair?  It’s shoulder length now.  I plan on never cutting it.  If I don’t marry Joel the hot counselor, do I marry Keanu?  Love,  Betsy.   I sort of wish I could write myself a letter at camp from now.  I would say, “Dear Little Betsy,  You don’t marry Joel.  Just know it.  Feel the pain.  I think he knocks someone up later, anyway.  BUT you totally marry someone hot, so don’t even worry.  Put sunscreen on at Lake Michigan this year.  I know you didn’t burn last year, but you do this year.  Also, don’t make that dirt angel.  Everyone thinks you’re gross.  A Snack Shop Special is a kiss, so quit bothering Kristy your counselor about it, and also feel free to tell your cabin mates that Kristy is well-stocked with Snack Shop Specials due to her supplier, the Grounds guy.  Just FYI.  Have a good summer!  Also, chill out, you are kind of a spaz.  Love, Betsy.

Actually, my first two kisses occurred at camp.  One was during an ill-advised round of Suck and Blow.  The other was from the aforementioned Greg the Grounds Guy.  Before you freak, let me explain.  I mentioned above the mythic “Snack Shop Special.”  The girls that week were absolutely falling over themselves trying to find out what it was.  We begged and pleaded with the counselors, PLEASE TELL US WHAT A SNACK SHOP SPECIAL IS!!!!!  I was bothering Kristy and Greg one evening.  When Greg got up to leave us for the evening, he walked over to me and smooched me on the cheek and said, “That’s a snack shop special.”  Probably the only time I’ve ever been rendered speechless.  Certainly when the card fell during the game of suck and blow, I informed the poor 13 year old boy who was responsible how oddly cold and slimy his lips were, but only after a very dramatic EW!!! and much sleeve wiping of my lips.  I bet that kid thought I was a real asshole.  I’m also just now realizing that a  Snack Shop Special is so obviously sex and that the counselors merely tamed it for the ears of children.  Very sly.  Very sly.  Well done.

Sharon and Susan contemplating the Snack Shop Special

I remember when I would return home the following Saturday, everything at my house  smelled clean and fresh, and it felt like I had been gone for potentially years.  Until the next day, when I wouldn’t unload the dishwasher, my sisters and I swatted each other, my Mom shrieked and everything was back to normal.  Seeing any non-Camp friends after that week, I would inevitably inform them how drastically my life had changed.  How I had matured into a graceful swan, and I was really sorry they weren’t able to experience such womanly transformation.  I would inform them that I had met the man I would probably marry.  His name was Joel.  He played guitar as phenomenally as Burp Tennis.  He had obviously tried pot at some point.  And really loved Pearl Jam, which had to have been a sign from God that we were meant to be together as, I too, loved Pearl Jam.   Then one of us would become distracted by an overwhelming craving for a Popsicle and all would return to normal.

It’s a Doris Kind of Day!*


Doris Day - Bless her heart

Movie Post

In a revolutionary move…for me…I have decided to test out a combination of Fashion Inspiration and Movie Hero of the Week.

So, first and foremost, let me bring your attention to Doris Day. She’s very famous, don’t get me wrong. Yet, I find her reputation is over-simplified. She’s sort of known for being the virginal, freshly scrubbed 60’s icon with a penchant for birthday cake-like hats. While not unfounded, I’d like to introduce you to a spikier side of Miss Day.

“I look upon Brad Allen as any other disease. I’ve had him. I’m over him.” Pillow Talk

While she was married briefly several times, she has been known to say that if she ever had one true love, it was with Rock Hudson. That, my friends, had to have been a complex relationship, no?  She did profess never to have known he was gay.  I reserve a hearty “Oh come on,” for that.  Still, she did say she knows Rock is in heaven because he was such a kind person.

He was also incredibly good looking.  Have you seen him in the tub in Pillow Talk?

Here:

You are welcome.  Reow.

In this first clip I’d like to share (of Doris), we see a surprisingly dare I say feminist Doris Day?  She’s a succesful advertising executive who is desperately trying to land a choice account over the notorious Mr. Webster, a competing advertising executive played by Rock Hudson.  (Her hat in this one is more Jiffy Pop than birthday cake.)  The clip ends with one of my favorite all time Doris lines.

In a similar role in Pillow Talk, she declares in perhaps her most famous line, “Mr. Allen, it may interest you to know that there are some men who don’t end every sentence in a proposition.”

In a bit of a departure for both Doris Day and Alfred Hitchcock, she stars in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 version – costumes, it should be noted, by Edith Head.)  Here she sings her signature song…loaded with signature Hitchcock tension:

She nows lives fabulously as a hermity cat lady.  That’s true.  And pretty awesome.  She’s an animal rights advocate and she is done with Hollywood.  In fact, it was during filming for The Man Who Knew Too Much that she began her animal rights work.  She was upset by the treatment of the livestock “extras” used in the film.  I love this woman.  Did I mention she’s from Ohio?

She is a staunch Republican, but she’s a blonde from Cincinnati, so that’s to be expected.  Le sigh.  Speaking of blondes from Cincinnati, she went to the same ballroom dance studio as Vera Ellen and their parents used to carpool.  Rosemary Clooney didn’t live all that far away.   I wonder if she was there too.  In my fantasy, she is.  It’s not like Vera’s taking up that much room in the back seat.

It’s easy to forget how sexy some of Doris Day’s movies are, but they are, in their way.  Sure, she had a swear jar on the set (that’s also true), but she was a grown up lady living in a crazy world.  It’s no bad thing to throw around a little Midwestern no-nonsense sometimes.

Fashion Post

“I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.”  Doris Day

If you changed “set” to “stage”, you pretty much have my career mantra.  Not a higher calling, but a calling nonetheless.

Doris Day was a fashion icon of her time.  She represented color, good girls, and excellent tailoring.  She even had a paper doll set created in her image!

So, to add a little sunshine to your wintery day, I’d like to share one of my favorite Polyvore creations inspired by none other than Doris Day – Ohio girl, chanteuse, and a personal fashion icon of mine.  She also reminds me of my Aunt Becky, whom I love.

While my tiny neurotic brain has a hard time allowing for “whatever will be,” I certainly aspire to see life that way.  I also aspire to wear this outfit:

Kate Spade Cammie
$240 – piperlime.gap.com
Mary jane pump »

NANA’ – FEATHER HAT
265 EUR – luisaviaroma.com
Feather hats »

Doris Day
leofuchs.com
*What is a movie hero? An un or under-sung member of the film making community who deserves more of the spotlight. And yet lack of such a spotlight often adds to their charm.

Movie Hero of the Week* – Edie McClurg


So much of the pop culture of my childhood has the stamp of Edie McClurg. Even before I had seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, she was voicing characters on “The Snorks”, “The Smurfs”, The Secret of NIMH, “Tiny Toons”, “Darkwing Duck”, “The Addams Family (cartoon”, and many others. She’s even the voice of Carlotta, Prince Eric’s housekeeper, in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a film I have shamelessly memorized. I adored her as Hermit Hattie on the Pee Wee Herman Show (not yet Pee Wee’s Playhouse.) My family still shouts her distress call, “Yee-ow, Come Quick! Yee-ow, Come Quick! Come quick! Come quick! Come quick!” She has made a career of the cameo. And she’s hilarious. Any purveyors of the false myth that “women aren’t funny” haven’t bumped into Ms. McClurg (Or they are misogynist fools…or both…I digress.)

I certainly haven’t experienced her career in a chronological order. Her first movie was Carrie, and when I saw that I shouted “Oh my gosh! It’s Mrs. Poole from “The Hogan Family!” You know, like you do. However, no matter when she pops up, be it in a tv show or movie, I am always delighted to see her. Yes, she plays a similar character in the sense she’s got that upper Midwest matron thing down pat. But even a character that broad has it’s subtleties. For instance, let’s take her performance in A River Runs Through It. She plays Mrs. Burns, Jessie’s mom. She is the prime example of the movie’s previously narrated “Methodist – A Baptist Who Can Read.” She’s a Momma. Her kids can do no wrong. She may not be the sharpest tack in the lot, but she’s a Momma Bear. Then let’s look at her in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:
She’s still thoroughly a classic American Middle Class character, but this time, she’s a rude car rental agent. She looks similar, but Mrs. Burns wouldn’t pull that attitude on a customer.

So this woman is good, and as an actress she’s smart. She gets the joke. Her timing is impeccable, and even at her most devious, her most inept, she’s likeable. I love this woman.

And don’t worry. I wouldn’t dare to leave out her Tour de Force performance. Her Masterpiece. Her effortless, flawless, and to this day unique portrayal of Grace, the Secretary in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.


Here we see her sniffing the white-out.

One of my personal favorite exchanges:

Mr. Rooney: I don’t trust this kid any further than I can throw him.
Grace: Well, with your bad knee, Ed, you shouldn’t throw anybody… It’s true.
Mr. Rooney: What is so dangerous about a character like Ferris Bueller is he gives good kids bad ideas. Last thing I need at this point in my career is fifteen hundred Ferris Bueller disciples running around these halls. He jeopardizes my ability to effectively govern this student body.
Grace: He makes you look like an ass, is what he does, Ed.
Mr. Rooney: Thank you, Grace, but I think you’re wrong.
Grace: Oh, he’s very popular, Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads — they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.
Mr. Rooney: That is why I need to show these kids that the example he sets is a first-class ticket to nowhere!
Grace: Oh, Ed, you sounded like Dirty Harry just then.
Mr. Rooney: Really? Thanks, Grace.

And finally, I offer you HER WEBSITE! You can email her! I don’t even know what I’d say.

She’s a Groundling, by trade. And it was the improv school that helped her create these fantastic characters. “Acting isn’t a singular profession, it’s a collaborate profession,” she’s quoted as saying. True, I agree. But her performances certainly are singular.

*What is a movie hero? An un or under-sung member of the film making community who deserves more of the spotlight. And yet lack of such a spotlight often adds to their charm.

These Boots Weren’t Made for Winter


I need a winter boot.

For most people, this would be the sort of thing you say breezily on a Saturday afternoon. Then you wander into the kitchen to make a sandwich. Then you say, “Well. I think I’ll go to Target and buy some boots.” And that’s that.

Not for me. I have to make a big frickin’ production out of the whole thing. Oh, I know. It’s obnoxious.

I research and price shop and haggle and waver and then drop the whole thing. And then it hits 40 degrees and I forget about it. And then it drops to 2 below and I remember.

What I require, that is so hard to achieve, is style. If I’m going to drop cash on boots, they better make my legs looks fabulous.

Not like rubber.

And not like I don’t have ankles.

If we could but journey back to 2003 when Cameron Diaz appeared in a papparazzi shot wearing uggs with shorts, I imagine the people at Ye Olde Ugg Company were bemused. “Look,” they might have said, gathered around the sheep pen, looking at a copy of People magazine, “Cameron Diaz has on our boots with shorts. That’s weird.”
A style move, I might add, that has celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe written all over it.

Look at her!
She’s a lizard! Only a reptile would think to put mukluks with a pair of cutoffs. That is Mesozoic-era thinking. Why else would she need to retain so much heat in the California sun? Let’s just hope that Uggs die out like their megafauna counterparts.

Sidebar: I don’t know when zoologists are going to creep out of the jungles, caves, and swamps and realize that the creatures of legend are alive and well in Hollywood. I can’t be responsible for making these pithy observations. I’m trying to, you know, WORK over here…and stare at the ceiling and stuff.

The point is, I require style. That’s it. Not style AND brand name, or style AND a certain level of panache. Just style. Some people would argue that style and brand name go hand in hand, but those people are fools. And uncreative.

For I will seek out my fashion prey, and I will hunt it down, and then I will bargain shop. And when I find the best price, even then, I will slap it around a bit. I call this “Abusive Shopping” and I highly recommend it. It’s great fun.

As far as Battle Boot goes, I thought I had found the solution: riding boots. Elegant, practical, you can layer, etc.
But they can’t take it. they just can’t handle a Midwestern winter. They can’t the salt and they are slippery on the ice. And now, I’ve so beaten my riding boots to hell, that the black ones are literally screaming at the sides. They look like they are whispering nasty things to me out the side of their, er, mouths…so to speak. And the poor brown ones, though better in form, have very chapped lips and a sort of salty mustache.

So I still seek my personal Eldorado: The Stylish and Warm Winter Boot.
My requirements:
1. Self-evident, but worthy of repeating, Warm
2. Water resistant, preferably -proof
3. Not heeled
4. A sole with traction. Personally, I have a soul with traction, but I still slip and fall. *Wink*
5. Good-looking. And here’s the thing, not “Good-looking for a winter boot,” but just plain ol’ “Good-looking” with no qualifiers.
6. Should be somewhat neutral and match my coat, but we can get into that over negotiations. Right now, I’m just looking to take a pair out to lunch.

So I’m cold. And I’m bootless. But lucky for me, I’m warm-blooded. Reeow.